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Apple to kill off iPhone 5C production next year, report says

Production of the lower-cost iPhone will cease during the middle of 2015, claims Taiwan's Industrial and Commercial Times.

Will Apple put the kibosh on the 5C next year? CNET

Apple will put an end to the iPhone 5C come next year, according to a new report.

iPhone 5C manufacturers Foxconn and Wistron will taper off production of the phone and pull the plug on the device during the middle of 2015, MacRumors said on Wednesday, citing a report from Taiwan's Industrial and Commercial Times.

Apple unveiled the iPhone 5C last year as a lower-cost and less feature-packed alternative to the iPhone 5S . For example, the 5C lacks the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and the speedier A7 processor found on the 5S. Available in five different colors, the 5C started off with a price tag of $99 but is now available for free with a two-year wireless contract in an 8GB edition that Apple introduced last March.

No specific reason was given for the halt in production, but it's common for Apple to eventually phase out older products after it ushers in new models. In September, the company launched the 4.7-inch iPhone 6 and the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus and still sells the iPhone 5S at a starting price of $99.

Sales of the 5C failed to meet expectations, at least initially, as more customers seemed to gravitate to the 5S. A January survey from research firm CIRP found that the 5S scored 59 percent of iPhone sales during the last quarter of 2013, while the 5C accounted for just 27 percent.

And though the subsidized price of the 5C may have appealed to budget-conscious consumers in certain markets, the full retail price of $549 kept it out of reach for potential buyers in some emerging markets. Apple CEO Tim Cook has acknowledged, the 5C was never geared to be a cheap phone.

Some reports also suggest the 5C has been less of a flop than is commonly thought.

Stats cited by AppleInsider this past March revealed that the 5C outsold much of the competition during the final quarter of 2013, including several popular phones running Android, Google's mobile operating system. During Apple's June quarter, the 5C seemed to show an improvement in sales, AppleInsider said.

Though Apple reports the total number of iPhone sales each quarter, the company doesn't break down those sales per device. So it's difficult to know exactly how well or how poorly the 5C has fared in the market. But with the new iPhone 6 models seeing huge demand and the 5S still a viable product at user-friendly prices, it's only a matter of time before the 5C faces retirement.

Apple did not immediately respond to CNET's request for comment.